Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, (I received a phone with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback) All opinions are my own.
I am sure that most of you know by now that my daughter has special needs. And while I could blog for days about how many hardships we have faced, I prefer to live on the bright side of life. She is an amazing, smart, beautiful and talented young lady that just wants to be like everyone else. And in being like every other kid on the planet, she of course, wanted her own smartphone. She has wanted one for the last few years, but I always said no because I thought that she was way too young. She just turned 10, and while I still think she is too young for her own phone, I finally relented and gave her a Droid Turbo. I wanted a phone that had many possibilities for apps for kids with special needs. I know most of you will probably think she is too young for her first phone, but let me assure you… she does not use the phone unless I am supervising her and she does not make any calls or send any texts unless she is sending them to me, her father, her grandparents, cousins or her aunt.
I did not give this smartphone to her so that she could call and text. I gave this phone to her because I thought it would be a great lesson for her in responsibility. I also gave it to her because it can also be a very helpful tool for someone with special needs. It can foster independence and also teach her many things because of all of the amazing apps available in the Google Play Store. There are lots of free apps, but there are also some that cost money. Some of them are even quite pricey, but well worth the cost, depending on just what kinds of needs your child has. There are millions of children with special needs but not all of them have the same needs.
Speech & Language Apps
There are many great apps for Android that can aid special needs children with their speech and communicative skills. As I said before, some of them cost money and some do not. One of the best ones that I have tried is AAC Speech Buddy. But there are also several more that can do similar things and some that do different things altogether. You can try JABTalk, Voice4U, Quick Talk and TapToTalk.
Social Skills Apps
Lots of kids with special needs have a hard time delving into most social situations. My daughter is one of them. My daughter is very friendly, sometimes too friendly. She says hi to everyone she sees and is absolutely not afraid of strangers, which can be very scary for Mom! But she has a hard time remembering your name, even if you just told her what it was 5 seconds ago. So from here on out, she is just going to call you ‘my friend’. Repeatedly. In every sentence that she speaks to you. Which seems fine to me, but may seem weird to others. And to other kids, especially. But if you are mad or confused by her, she has no idea. That is just one aspect of her social skills. There are a million others! Here are some apps that we use that help her with social skills. Smart Steps Mobile, Give Me 5!, Training Faces and What’s the Expression.
Some special needs children have difficulty in some behaviors that some of us barely even think twice about. For instance, such small things as brushing your hair, brushing your teeth and even having dinner are a huge deal in my house. Huge. Lots of tantrums are thrown. If her schedule is thrown off by one second, there can be lots yelling and tears. From both of us. There are some apps available to help with this. Like Tiny Tastes and iRewardChart.
We use these apps the most. I homeschool my daughter and these apps have been such a great help to both of us. She learns better through seeing than hearing. She also loves that most of these apps have fun animated characters and sometimes even fun games that also teach while being a joy to play. There are so, so many available that it can be hard to decide which ones to use. Here are some of my favorites: TinyTap, 123 Kids Fun Animal Band, Kids Math Count Number Game, Rhythm Rooms and SightKicks Sight Words.
Just keep in mind that not every kid is the same. Same goes for kids with special needs. Each child is unique and has unique needs. While my child may benefit from everything I have shared with you here, your child may benefit from something completely different. But I assure you that there are apps and programs on the Droid Turbo that will help them with something. There are so many great apps for kids with special needs in the Google Play Store. And there are just as many on the iPad that I use with my daughter. Whether it be the apps or just giving them a taste of responsibility or fostering those first steps of independence, with your help and guidance… they will be okay.